Poland Criticises ‘Foreign Influence’ over Its Journalists

Polish President
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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish officials struck back Monday against what they consider foreign influences, saying a letter from the CEO of a Swiss-German media company to its journalists in Poland highlights the need to curb foreign capital in Polish media.

In a letter quoted by Polish state media, CEO Mark Dekan of the Ringier Axel Springer Media AG last week reportedly criticized Poland’s isolated and ineffective stance against the recent re-election of European Council head Donald Tusk. In the letter, Dekan reportedly said that stance cost Poland its reputation as an EU partner and was a defeat for Poland’s ruling conservative party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

“Primitive ideologies lost against (EU) values and common sense,” the letter was quoted as saying.

Among other media outlets, the company owns the “Fakt” tabloid, “Newsweek Polska” magazine and Onet.pl news website in Poland.

An adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda, however, said such messages were “unacceptable.”

“Instructions come to media that have – let’s say – non-Polish capital, where they are instructed as to how to react to what is going on in Poland,” Andrzej Dera said. “To me this is unacceptable.”

Poland’s Foreign Ministry said the letter could be seen as undermining the independence of Polish media and will be raised in bilateral talks.

Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Glinski said work on a new law that would curb Polish media ownership by individual concerns, especially foreign ones, should be ready this summer.

“In the 20-odd years of unwise policy in Poland, a situation has been allowed where some media markets are too strongly taken over by one capital group, or by capital that has nationality,” Glinski told RMF FM radio.

The ministry says up to 90 percent of regional and local newspapers in Poland are owned by German companies.